NSW Minister for Sport and Recreation Stuart Ayres said the AFC Asian Cup was a great opportunity for sport to bring communities together while they enjoyed world class football.
“The people of NSW can see 11 games of the best football Asia has to offer in Sydney and Newcastle and I encourage everyone to get involved,” Mr Ayres said.
“The NSW Government is working hard with the Local Organising Committee to ensure the State is ready to welcome not only the 16 teams, but also the fans and massive international media contingent and VIPs who will come to NSW for the tournament.
“With more than half-a-million fans expected to watch the action live, and hundreds-of-millions watching on TV around the world, this will be an event to remember.
“While we are very excited to welcome all 16 teams, no doubt Socceroos fans will be hoping they can make history on home soil in the final on January 31,” Mr Ayres said.
Assistant Minister for Tourism and Major Events Katrina Hodgkinson said the tournament would provide a massive boost to the State economy.
“We look forward to welcoming visitors to experience the best of Sydney, Newcastle and NSW, including our pristine beaches, spectacular harbour, excellent cafes and restaurants, fantastic shopping and our wildlife and heritage listed national parks,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“The business end of the Asian Cup is right here in NSW and I’m sure football fans from around Australia and the world will be here in late January.”
The AFC Asian Cup is Asia’s biggest football competition and was established in 1956.
The 16 nations to qualify for AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 are Australia as hosts, defending champions Japan, Korea Republic and 2012 AFC Challenge Cup winners DPR Korea, along with Bahrain, China, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Palestine.
The 16 finalists will take part in a 23-day festival of football in five cities which the Socceroos will kick off against Kuwait on January 9, 2015, in Melbourne, with the final set for Sydney’s Stadium Australia on January 31, 2015.